10-16-1854 – 11-30-1900 Oscar Wilde – Born in Dublin, Ireland. Irish writer, poet, and playwright. He was one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. His play, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) is considered to be his masterpiece. He is also well known today for his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). Wilde was known for his biting wit and flamboyant dress. He was one of the best-known personalities of his day. At the height of his fame and success, Wilde charged the Marquess of Queensberry with libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde was forced to drop the charges and he himself was arrested for gross indecency with other men. He was convicted and sentenced to two years of hard labor. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. In France, he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a poem that immortalized the harsh treatment of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of 46. He became a gay icon in the latter half of the 20th century.
10-16-1907 – 02-08-1976 Louisa d’Andelot Carpenter – Place of birth unknown. She was a du Pont heiress, Jazz Age socialite, and aviator. Louisa was a lesbian and often appeared in public in men’s suits and ties. Her circle of friends and lovers included Evelyn Eugenia (known as “Sister”) and her sister Tallulah Bankhead, Louise Brooks, Marion Carstairs, Noël Coward, Greta Garbo, Libby Holman, Jane Bowles, and Z. Smith Reynolds. When Libby Holman was indicted for the murder of her husband Zachary Smith Reynolds, Louisa paid Libby’s $25,000 bail. When Louisa appeared at the Wentworth, North Carolina courthouse, bystanders and reporters thought she was a man. She died when her private plane crashed near her Easton, Maryland farm in 1976.
10-16-1928 – 01-03-2010 Mary Daly – Born in Schenectady, New York. She was an American feminist philosopher, academic, and theologian. Daly taught at Jesuit-run Boston College for 33 years and described herself as a “radical lesbian feminist.” She was forced to retire in 1999 when she refused to allow male students in her advanced women’s studies classes. Her book, The Church and the Second Sex (1968), almost cost her dismissal. She regarded organized religion as inherently oppressive toward women, stating that “woman’s asking for equality in the church would be comparable to a black person’s demanding equality in the Ku Klux Klan.” After her death, Daly’s papers were contributed to the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History at Smith College.
10-16-1949 – 01-18-2022 Andre Leon Talley – Born in Durham, North Carolina. He was a former American editor-at-large of Vogue Magazine. He had spent more than 25 years on the fashion scene and was a regular at fashion shows in New York, Paris, London, and Milan. In 2007, he was ranked 45th in Out magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America. Talley worked with designers Tracy Reese, Rachel Roy, and singer/actress Jennifer Hudson. He was also close friends with Mariah Carey, fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons, and tennis star Venus Williams. Talley died from complications of a heart attack and Covid-19 at a hospital in White Plains, New York at the age of 73.
10-16-1960 Robert Arthur “Bob” Mould – Born in Malone, New York. He is an American musician, known as guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the alternative rock bands Hüsker Dü in the 1980s and Sugar in the 1990s. The 1992 album, Copper Blue, was named as NME’s (New Music Express) Album of the Year, and was Mould’s most successful commercial album, selling nearly 300,000 copies. Mould was outed as gay in the early 1990s in an interview in the music magazine Spin. He has come to terms with being gay and self-identifies as a bear, even appearing in the movie Bear Nation.
10-16-1980 Sue Bird – Born in Syosset, New York. She is an American professional basketball player for the Seattle Storm of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). At 5 feet, 9 inches, Bird was the first pick of the 2002 WNBA Draft. Bird has won two WNBA championships (2004 & 2010), four Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016), and led the WNBA in assists three times (2005, 2009 and 2016). In 2011, she was voted by fans as one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time. Bird came out as openly lesbian on July 20th, 2017, saying that she has been dating soccer player Megan Rapinoe for several months. In 2018, she and Rapinoe became the first same-sex couple on the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue.